FORMER Rainbow Beach park ranger Tanya Beech has been awarded a prestigious Churchill Fellowship to travel to Africa to research ranger training programs in national parks.
The fellowship recognises Tanya's work as a vocational trainer delivering conservation and land management training to indigenous rangers in remote communities across northern Australia.
"I am thrilled to be a 2013 Churchill Fellow as it will directly benefit the Australian indigenous communities I work in," Ms Beech said.
"The fellowship will allow me to travel overseas and seek out innovative and proven techniques used in ranger training in African countries, where there are long-established and successful training-based models for ranger employment which are underpinned by culture and connection to country."
Tanya will spend six weeks travelling through South Africa, Mozambique and Tanzania to conduct research into a diverse range of issues associated with indigenous conservation training programs.
She said she chose to conduct research in Africa because of the many similarities to the Australian environments she worked in.
Some of these common elements included indigenous communities living on, or adjacent to the land they managed and used for traditional resource collection, and community-based job creation being driven by conservation jobs and by cultural tourism.
Tanya planned to visit some of Africa's longest established conservation training colleges including the College of African Wildlife Management in Tanzania.
Her research will include participating in field-based training and assessment with rangers in the national parks they work in.
"I love being in the field and experiencing what is very much a two-way information sharing exercise," she said.